A Grilled Cheese and A Beer at The Emerson in Clinton Hill


Clinton Hill’s bar scene has been heating up lately, with Fulton Grand, which opened at its namesake intersection this past summer, and the forthcoming Hanson Dry, a cocktail bar that was supposed to open this past weekend, but was still dark and papered over on Saturday night. Further north on Myrtle Avenue, the Emerson, named for the poet and Walt Whitman contemporary who also lent his name to the cross-street, made its debut a few weeks ago with a menu of signature cocktails, craft beers, and grilled cheese sandwiches for snacks.

Having a cocktail list seems to be a must these days. But throwing a bunch of spirits and fresh herbs into a shaker isn’t as easy as it sounds. The drinks at the Emerson include one made with Breuckelen Gin, fresh mint, and ginger. Sounds promising, right? But instead of fresh citrus, this variation on a corpse reviver employs artificial-tasting sour mix, which results in a metallic, unbalanced final product. Other drinks on the list are made with Bacardi and Absolut, which seems at odds with the local gin drink.

And yet, we’re inclined to say, who cares about the misguided cocktail list? The place has a pool table, comfy banquettes, and a pleasantly diverse crowd of locals. Beers on tap include Sixpoint’s Sweet Action and Kelso IPA. The best part — other than the sparkling red-laminate bar top and (decorative) heavy, wooden early-century jukebox — is surely the bar snacks menu. A selection of grilled cheeses, each lovingly pressed in a George Foreman-style grill, includes a Cubano-style sandwich and a white-trash version with just cheddar and Bacos. You can also opt for a plump Niman Ranch hot dog, with a McClure pickle on the side. Yes, real bars may just be making a comeback … with yummy benefits.

The Emerson
561 Myrtle Avenue